By Delia / Last update August 3, 2021

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Why transfer Windows 7 to another hard drive?

What does transferring Windows 7 to new hard drive means? Generally, it refers to migrating the operating system of Windows 7 to a new HDD/SSD by the means of cloning system partitions (direct) or backup & restore system image (indirect).

Windows 7

To be specific, you need to move operating system files, boot files, all files and installed programs on C drive to another partition of a different disk, then boot into the same Windows 7 operating system from the target hard disk, with better experience or shorter boot up time usually.

Well, what exactly can you benefit from migrating Windows 7 to new hard drive?

  • Upgrade old hard drive. This might be the most common reason for system migration. As covered before, run operating system on a new disk, SSD in particular, would bring better user experience.

  • Expand disk space. Low disk space warning might appear when more and more files are created and applications are installed. It may affect the use of Windows 7 OS in the worst case. Transferring Windows 7 to larger disk can easily solve this issue.

  • Use SSD for OS and HDD for storage. Many users choose to install OS on SSD and use hard disk drive for data storage, which is actually a very efficient arrangement for making use of different disk types.

  • Make a backup. Create a duplication of Windows 7 system on other places is a good disaster recovery solution.

Powerful tool to copy Windows 7 to new hard drive

Windows 7 to new hard drive migration can be realized effortlessly with the help of all-in-one powerful software that integrates with backup and restore feature as well as clone feature. You could consider using free disk cloning software AOMEI Backupper Standard to complete Windows 7 migration with its "Disk Clone" or "System Backup and Restore" feature. 

>> For clone feature, you could consider using its "SSD Alignment" option to boost performance if the new hard drive is an SSD. Also, if the new hard drive is a larger drive, you could use "Edit Partitions" (supported by paid version) to adjust partition size of destination disk in case you can't use full HDD capacity after cloning.
>> For backup and restore feature, you could consider using its “Schedule” feature. The default settings are daily incremental backup, which can help you backup Windows 7 system or hard drive and subsequent changes.

In addition, if you want an easier way to migrate Windows 7, you may choose AOMEI Backupper Professional and use its "System Clone" feature. With it, you don't have to clone the entire hard drive with Windows 7 installed, but to clone only items on the system partition, including operating system (OS), system reserved partition or EFI system partition, recovery partition, system drivers, installed programs and personal data, etc.

Move Windows 7 to new hard drive with 2 free ways

Here you will learn how to migrate Windows 7 to another HDD or SSD free with "Disk Clone" or "System Backup and Restore" feature in AOMEI Backupper Standard. If you want to clone Windows 7 hard drive to new hard drive, you could consider using Way 1. But if you want to migrate OS only, you could consider using Way 2. These are just some of my suggestions, you can also read it first, and then decide.

Way 1. Clone a hard drive in Windows 7

To clone hard drive in Windows 7, the first thing is to download and install AOMEI Backupper Standard on your computer. Then, Connect or install the new hard drive to your computer and make sure it can be detected. You may need an SATA-to-USB adapter if there is only one disk bay. 

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Please make sure the new hard drive is large enough to store all data on the current disk, otherwise the cloning process will fail. You can reduce volume data by deleting useless files or uninstalling unnecessary applications.

Next is the detailed steps to clone Windows 7 to new hard drive, just follow the instructions.

1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard and switch to Clone tab. To clone the hard drive with Windows 7 installed, choose Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

Note: This Standard edition only supports cloning an MBR disk to MBR disk if the hard drive contains system. You can check the partition style of your disk when selecting the source/destination disk in AOMEI Backupper. 

2. Select the source disk (i.e. the Windows 7 hard drive), and click Next.

Select Disk

3. Select the target disk (i.e. the new hard drive), and click Next.

Select Destination Disk

4. Before you click Start Clone, you can edit partitions, specify cloning method, and check SSD alignment. Then, wait untill the process ends and click "Finish".

>> Edit Partitions: you are allowed to specify partition size on the target drive. It is available in advanced versions.
>> SSD Alignment: it is suggested to check this option to improve performance if you want to clone hard drive to SSD in Windows 7.
>> Sector by sector clone: by checking this option, AOMEI Backupper will clone every sector to the target disk, whether it is used or not. Do not check it when cloning larger drive to smaller drive. 

Start Clone

✐ Boot up notes:
There are two ways to boot up Windows 7 on new hard drive. 
1. (Recommended) Shut down your PC and remove the source disk. Install the newly cloned hard drive on the machine. Start up your PC.
2. Restart your PC and press Del (or F2, or F12) to enter BIOS. Change boot priority to the new hard drive and press F10 to save and start. 

Beisde cloning Windows 7 to new hard drive, you still can use it to replace laptop HDD with SSD, migrate Windows 10 to M.2 SSD, clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD, etc.

Way 2. Backup and restore Windows 7 operating system

This method will tell you how to perform backup system and restore on new hard drive. More manual operations are involved than other methods. Check the detailed steps below.

Part 1. Create system image for Windows 7

Install AOMEI Backupper Standard and open it, click Backup and then System Backup. Next, follow the wizard to complete the system backup. Make sure you store the backup image on a path where can be accessed easily.

System Backup

Part 2. Restore Windows 7 on new hard drive

In AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Restore and then Select Task. Select the backup task you just created. At the step of selecting destination path, choose Restore system to other location, and then navigate to the new hard drive. 

Select Backup Image

• To restore Windows 7 system image to new computer with dissimilar hardware, you will use Universal Restore in AOMEI Backupper Professional or advanced version. If necessary, please upgrade the freeware first.
• To restore a failed computer, you'll need to create a bootable media on a work PC in advance.

Part 3. Start up Windows 7 on new hard drive

Shut down your PC when the restoration finishes. You can load Windows 7 from the new disk through one of the two ways mentioned in Way 1.

Clone Windows 7 to new hard drive directly (advanced & easier)

This part will introduce you an advanced & easier way to clone Windows 7 to another drive directly, with AOMEI Backupper Professional, the advanced edition of AOMEI Backupper Standard.

In addition to cloning a hard drive with Windows 7 installed, you can also transfer OS to new hard drive directly in a few clicks with this professional cloning software. The steps are similar to Windows 7 disk clone, but this method will only clone system related drives to target disk. Other data partitions are not involved.

1. Install or connect the new hard drive to your machine, and make sure it can be detected. Open AOMEI Backupper Professional, click Clone and then System Clone.

Choose System Clone

2. The Windows 7 system partitions will be automatically detected and selected, you just need to specify the new hard drive as destination.

Choose Destination Partition

3. In the Operation Summary page, you can check SSD Alignment and Sector by Sector Clone method as you wish. Then, start the process to clone Windows 7 to new hard drive by clicking Start Clone.

System Clone Preview

4. Click Finish when it completes. Then, boot your computer using methods in Way 1 and check if all your content are intact.


Three ways on how to clone Windows 7 to new hard drive have been introduced in details above. Now it's your time to select one among them to transfer Windows 7. And it's suggested to use old hard drive for storage if it still works well.

To be honest, AOMEI Backupper is quite helpful in data and system migration due to its lucid user interface and ease of use. No technical skills or knowledge required for users.

It is suggested to keep the software installed after cloning, and safeguard your computer files with automated file backup/sync solution to save time and effort. Try it now to discover more!